Showing posts with label Maharashtra. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maharashtra. Show all posts

Temples of Anjaneri, Nashik, Maharashtra

Pancha Digambar Temple Complex, Anjaneri
Pancha Digambar Temple Complex, Anjaneri

I was all set to descend the hill of Anjaneri after resting for a while at the Anjani Mata temple.  The experience uphill was exhilarating and I was fully charged up. However during my descent a group of temples situated a little distance away from the village of Anjaneri caught my attention. Hence, I decided to explore these temples of Anjaneri on reaching the base, completely forgetting about the caves that I wished to explore around the lakes. There are a few cave temples and an ashram besides a lake on the rear side of the first temple. As I continued my descent and reached the trek base, I immediately ordered a plate of special Maggi noodles at a hotel owned by an elderly person. I was extremely hungry and gulped down 2 full plates of noodles. My legs were tired and I started to have second thoughts about exploring the temple complexes near the village by foot. The temple complex was located at a distance of at least 2 km from the trek base. In the meanwhile, a bunch of boys who returned to their vehicle after completing the trek offered to drop me off till the cross-road and I happily welcomed their offer.
Hot Maggi
 After thanking them, I walked across the village of Anjaneri where I could sight the ruins of many temples spread here and there. I reached a spot where I found 3 Hero stones / Sati stones. Here on, I visited the first temple complex which was in ruins. It housed a big temple of Lord Vishnu along with another smaller temple dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi.  The temples remain mostly damaged, with some restoration work being undertaken currently by the ASI. The grandeur of this temple can be felt even in its ruins. It is disheartening to witness the state of this temple today. The main temple is built as per the ‘saptharatha plan’ and houses a damaged yet beautiful panchabhuma bhumija shikhara’, which can be classified under the ‘Hemadpanti/Hemadpanthi Style of Architecture’. Hemadpant was a celebrated physician of the Dwaparayuga, who cured Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana, King of Lanka.  In return, he begged the services of some giant architects with whose help he built numerous temples and step wells in western India, and these styles were collectively classified as ‘Hemadpanti Style of Architecture’. Historically, Hemadri or Hemadpant was a minister of the 9th Devagiri Yadava King Ramachandra (1271 -1308 CE), who was also a great writer and went on to build numerous temples in this region in Hemadpanthi Style of Architecture. There are carvings of Lord Vishnu’s incarnations on the outer walls of this temple. The door frame of the garbhagriha is of Chausakha with beautiful carvings of Trimurti (Lords Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara) along with Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi on the lintel. The garbhagriha houses a damaged murti of Lord Vishnu on a Garuda peetha. The Lakshmi temple however is much worse than the main temple and devoid of any murti.
Goddess Lakshmi Devi Temple
Lord Vishnu Mandir
Chausakha Door Frame
Lord Brahma, Vishnu & Shiva Carved on the Lintel
Rubble of Lord Vishnu Temple
Right opposite to this temple is a temple dedicated to the Jaina Tirthankara Rishabhanatha (Adinatha) which is in complete ruins.  What a sad and disturbing sight it was! The temple parts were seen spread across the area inside the fence built by the ASI, reflecting the sheer carelessness in maintaining and preserving our heritage. The murti of Lord Rishabhanatha is kept under the open sky without any shelter. From here, I moved on to the next and the biggest temple complex called as the Pancha Digambar Temple. The main temple here has been converted, currently being dedicated to Lord Shiva. This conversion may have happened in the later centuries, as a part of an effort in its restoration. Thus the main temple here is in a better shape, although not good. The ASI however is continuously and constantly working towards the temple’s repair. There are 4 small temples in this complex apart from the main temple and an open air ASI Museum, where all the artifacts found in this area are preserved. The last temple here was a small yet beautiful Jaina temple situated about a few meters away from this temple complex. This temple houses a murti of Jaina Tirthankara. All the temples here were built during the reign of the Devagiri Yadavas between 11th and 13th centuries. Thus ending my quest for this place, only ask was to walk to the main road and board a bus back to Nashik!
Jaina Tirthankara Rishabhanatha
Main Temple of Pancha Digambar Temple Complex
Inscribed Stone
Restoration Work in Progress
Jain Temple


Reference:
1. Maharashtra district Gazetteer - Nashik


Related Posts: 

Anjaneri Fort Trek, Nashik, Maharasthra

'Anjaneri' is believed to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman, similar to the hill of Anjanadri near Anegundi. However, it is very difficult to ascertain the original birth place of the Lord among these two. Anjaneri is believed to be the birth place of Goddess Anjani Matha, the mother of  Lord Hanuman/Anjaneya.  There is an ancient temple at Anjaneri dedicated to the goddess. It is unique as it is believed that there is no other temple built for this goddess. We can ascertain that this place has some association with Lord Hanuman. However,  Lord Hanuman is believed to have spent most of his time at a place named Kishkinda/Kishkinde. Kishkinda of Ramayana has been identified as Anegundi and its surrounding areas in the state of Karnataka. Although there are a few other places claiming as the birth place of Lord Hanuman, Anjanadri Betta of Kishkinda is the closest in relation as per the Ramayana. Nashik too has a deep connection with Lord Rama. It is at this place Lord Rama's brother Lakshmana cut the nose of Shurpanakha (Ravana's sister) leading to the kidnapping of Sita Matha. It would be wonderful to trace the route taken by Lord Rama from Ayodhya to Sri Lanka during in his exile.
Anjaneri Hill from the Bus Stop
Good Morning
Anjaneri Landscape
 My initial plan was to trek the fort at Harihar which a much popular trekking destination and therefore booked a cab for the same through an app. However, the driver had cancelled the booking due to some reason for which no notification was sent to me. I woke up in morning only to find out that the cab booking was canceled and the next cab pick-up would easily take at least 45 mins. Thus I dropped the plan of trekking Harihar fort and instead decided to go to Trimbak, a popular pilgrimage center and one among the 12 Jyotirlingas. Meanwhile, I stumbled upon the fort of Anjaneri which is located en-route to Trimbak from Nashik and is a popular trekking destination. It is worthwhile to mention that the bus connectivity between Nashik and Trimbak is commendable and available throughout the day and night. I boarded the 5 am bus in the morning and after a journey of about 45 mins, I got down at the Anjaneri cross bus-stop from where the trek base was about good 2km. I had to cover this distance by foot since no vehicle was available in the early morning hours.
Sun Over Anjaneri
Anjaneri Lake
Contrasting Colors of Life
There are well laid roads up to the trek base. However, I took the shorter route by foot used by the locals  and reached the trek base. What lovely sight it was! On one side was a big lake with blue waters and other encompassed a mesmerizing sunrise. Finally after a good 30 min walk I reached the trek base where there were a few shops and none were open except one that was just getting opened. An elderly person who ran this shop told me to wait for 5 minutes while he prepared some hot tea for me. Here, there were few boards giving details about the ecological importance of Anjaneri apart from being protected as a vulture sanctuary. I filled up my water bottle while the hot tea was getting ready. Though I generally do not prefer drinking tea, the tea here was probably the best that I have ever had. Steps are laid from here till the plateau and in between at a few places, railings have installed for support. Many locals ascend the hill on a regular basis to offer prayers and  perform for daily pujas to Goddess Anjani Matha.
Jaina Cave Temple
Lord Parshvanatha Tirthankara
Goddess Anjani Matha Temple
Lake on the Anjaneri Hill
More Trek Options Near Nashik
Navara Navri Fort
 The first temple that I came across here was a small Jaina cave temple dedicated Lord Parshvanatha. There are 2 murtis of the Lord caved in 2 separate chambers of the cave. A short climb from here leads to a plateau region from where one has to walk for about 10 minutes to reach the temple dedicated to Anjani Matha. After offering prayers to the goddess, it was time for another cup of hot tea. A further ascent hereon leads us to the peak of Anjaneri hills. Though no fortification exist here today, once a grand fort was erected which was destroyed by the British. At the beginning of the next series of steps is a small water pond in contrast to the big lake seen below. There are a few cave temples here which I wanted to explore while descending. I continued my climb and reached the peak in about 20 minutes. The views from here were  breathtaking and no words can describe it enough. There is a small temple at the peak which is believed to be the birth place of Lord Hanuman.
Goddess Anjani Matha
Birth Place of Lord Hanuman
Hanuman Gupha
Tales of Two Lakes
CONTINUED HERE ...

Related Posts:
1. Harishchandragad trek Video
2.A road trip to Kolhapur and Satara from Bengaluru
3. Discovery of India - Amhednagar Fort

Bhringi – The Story of Devotion and Curse



Parangi (The Wanderer), a sage was one of the greatest devotees of Lord Shiva. His Bhakti for the Lord knew no bounds. Every morning he offered prayers to Lord Shiva earnestly at Mount Kailash. He exclusively worshipped Lord Shiva, ignoring goddess Parvathi.  The goddess, who failed to get any attention of any kind from Parangi grew jealous and complained to Lord Shiva. The next day, goddess Parvathi was seen seated on the lap of Lord Shiva by Maharishi Parangi who had then come to offer prayers to the Lord. Parangi was dumbstruck at this situation and using his yogic powers transformed into a snake (some accounts mention this form also as a rat) to circumambulate only the Lord in the gap between him and the goddess, in order to avoid the goddess.
Ardhanareshwara - Badami Cave
Bhringi - Shri Kedareshwara Temple, Nagalapura
 Goddess Parvathi was very hurt at his behavior and complained to Lord Shiva as follows, “When you and I are one, then why should Rishi Parangi ignore me and offer prayers only to you”? The Lord smiled and replied, “His (Parangi’s) behavior should not bother you”. However, to please his beloved, Lord Shiva unites with his goddess to form Ardhanareshwara” (a composite form of Lord Shiva and Parvathi). On seeing this form of the Lord, Rishi Parangi again used his yogic powers and this time turned into a beetle (some accounts mention this form as a bee) to bore hole through the navel of Ardhanareshwara and go around Lord Shiva’s half only, avoiding the goddess again. Thus he gets the name Bhringi, meaning bee/beetle.  Parangi’s devotion only towards Lord Shiva and ignorant attitude towards her added to the goddess’s agony, who was now enraged enough to curse him.  She cursed him to lose the parts of his body received from his mother. According to our Puranic beliefs, the bones and nerves come from the father and blood and muscles come from the mother. Though this may not be completely true as per genetics, it signifies the importance of both parents equally contributing to their child’s physical characteristics. Due to this curse of goddess Parvathi, Parangi (Bhringi) loses all his muscles and blood and falls down at the feet of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva then blesses his ardent devotee with a third leg to provide support to his body, similar to a tripod.
Monkey Faced Bhringi
Lord Nataraja with Nandi, Shri Veerabhadra Swamy Temple, Gangadevanahalli
 Bhringi is usually seen with folded hands, in full devotion standing besides Lord Ardhanareshwara, which is beautifully depicted at Cave No.2 of Badami. Bhringi is also considered as the ‘Dance Master of the Gods‘and is associated with many nritya murtis of Lord Shiva. One such beautiful depiction can be seen at the Natya mandapa of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple of Lepakshi.  He is also said to have a monkey’s face, owing to the curse of goddess Parvathi. Bhringi is also classified as a form of Lord Bhairava; the same is depicted on the outer wall of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy temple at Gangadevanahalli. Also, Bhringi is one among the 8 Commanders/Ganas of Lord Shiva, along with Devi, Chandesha, Mahakala, Vrishabha, Nandi, Ganesha and Murugan. He was also entrusted with the administration of Lord Shiva’s troops. He along with Lord Nandi guard the doors of Lord Shiva’s residence at Kailash. 
Dance Master Bhringi, Lepakshi
Nataraja Panel, Mandapeshwar Caves, Mumbai
Master "Dance Master"  -Bhringi
There are many such beautiful stories of devotion/bhakti.

References:
1. Pratima Kosha - A book 
2. Iconography of Shiva - T A Gopinath Rao  

Related Posts
1. The Great Destroyer - Samharamurtis
2. The Divine beggar - Bhkshatanamurti 
3. Lepakshi Chitra Katha

A Road Trip to Kolhapur and Satara from Bengaluru

Our desire to witness the 'Kaas'/ 'Khas'/'Kas' plateau, popularly known as 'The Valley of Flowers' was long overdue. The best season to visit Khas being September luckily coincided with the vacation we planned. Thus our travel itinerary of Maharashtra was mainly based on visiting 3 places namely the Kaas pathar, the Reverse waterfalls and the sacred Marleshwar apart from others. It is well known that this entire region is a blessing to travel during the monsoon. Thus a 9 day road trip to Kolhapur, Satara and Ratnagiri districts of Maharashtra was planned. As we were building our itinerary of places to visit in these regions, we realised that 9 days is too short a time to cover all the places and decided to visit whatever possible within the planned time. Our overall journey was good as we managed to travel across as per plan though there were a couple of hiccups for our vehicle, involving a running repair (starter motor not working) and tyre punctures. The same was handled well without much disturbance or deviation.
We stopped by at a road-side hotel about 45 km before Belagavi for refreshments and took a bio-break. While we were all set to proceed further, our vehicle refused to get started. We tried and checked all possible ways but in vain. Even calling the service advisor from Mahindra and acting as per his advice did not produce any fruitful result as the starter motor was not in working condition. We took help from the hotel staff who kindly obliged and pushed the vehicle up-slope for some distance. Thankfully our vehicle started and we moved on after thanking the staff.  We informed the  service advisor about the same for which he advised us to drive down our vehicle to the next available showroom at Belagavi and also told us to call the helpline. We reached Sutaria motors, the authorized service centre for Mahindra in this region who were of little help, who even refused to even check our vehicle for the problem and told us to go to Kolhapur since we were driving in that direction. We were a little disappointed at their behavior as it was an emergency and they were of no help. We had taken care to keep the vehicle on all along and proceeded further as we were racing against time to reach the next available Mahindra showroom.
Without wasting much time we drove towards to Kolhapur and after a few rounds of U turns, we finally made it to Trendy Wheels showroom at Kolhapur.  We reached here by 5:45 pm, 15 minutes prior to their closing time! We were anxious as the next day was a Sunday and most of the service providers remain closed. The staff here were extremely helpful and made immediate arrangements for my wife and kids to take the much needed rest and also arranged for some tea and snacks. Heartfelt thanks to them for their kind hospitality. Suraj, the service advisor who attended to us gave us first hand information that their workshop remains open on Sunday's too. We felt more relaxed now. He also  asked us if it is an emergency so that he could get it rectified the same evening by requesting his staff  to work over time. We were already much grateful to them and did not want to overload their staff.  Meanwhile, the technicians who were working on the starter motor detected the cause of the problem and assured us that the vehicle will be ready by the next day afternoon. We packed the necessary luggage and reached the main town of Kolhapur as the service centre was located off the Bangalore - Pune highway. We chose to halt at a lodge close by Sri Mahalakshmi temple, so that we could move around without any vehicle and much hassle. It was late evening by the time we refreshed and had dinner. We were fortunate enough for having a good darshan of the mother goddess that night. The atmosphere here was electrical. We returned to our hotel and retired early. 

Next day, we started a bit slow and lazed around while we got a call from Mahindra informing us to collect the vehicle by 2 pm. We walked around in the temple premises and decided to visit the temple again, but were taken aback by the huge crowd. We later realised that it was Krishna Janmasthami that day and during Shravana month, a large number of people come to offer prayers. We visited a few more places around the main temple and then reached Mahindra showroom. Our vehicle was ready and after the necessary checks, we were all ready to continue our journey ahead with much enthusiasm. They had done a great job in a short time and their service was impressive. Knowing that we would be their one time customer and that too for a running repair problem, their action and efforts were highly commendable. We witnessed the striking contrast between the customer service provided by two Mahindra authorised dealers, where one even refused to look at the problem and the other acknowledged with exceptional service! Trust us! This kind of quality customer service is rather quite rare in today's world. Thank you again Trendy Wheels, Mahindra at Kolhapur!
The same evening while returning from Khirdapur, our vehicle had a flat tyre, this time luckily right in front of a puncture shop at Ichalkaranji. The mechanic took less than 5 minutes to fix the puncture and we were back on the road. We continued to explore various places the next four days until Friday, when we were a bit relaxed and hence planned to take an adventurous route to Chiplun from Mahabaleshwar. This route is not advised by the locals as it is not much frequented and less traveled as it is amidst densely forested area coupled with a few bad stretches of roads. The route passes through the Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary and the drive for most of the stretch is alongside the river Koyna, making it the most beautiful one. We were all excited and started driving along this scenic route. We traveled about 35 km along this route and it was heaven! We had another 60 km to finish this stretch. About 7 km from Chaturbet, in between the villages of Dabhe Mohan and Dabhe Dabhekar is a small bridge across a stream that connects them. To our dismay, our vehicle had a flat tyre again! This time around, the puncture was severe as the short stretch just before the bridge had eroded due to heavy rains and consisted of sharp aggregates. I had to change the tyre and made arrangements.  At the same time, a ST (state transport) bus passed us from the opposite direction taking extra caution as it was a single lane road and our vehicle was parked there. Post this episode, I managed to change the tyre successfully only to find out that the back up tyre was not inflated enough to drive. It was around 4 pm that evening and time was running out. We had to cover that stretch before the sun went down. Without panicking, we rested for a while and discussed about our next move.
Meanwhile, a local who was grazing his cattle conversed with us  and witnessed the entire situation. He informed us that there is not a single tyre puncher shop in about 20 km radius!!!! The next question to him was about the availability of any public transport to the nearest town to get the puncture repaired. He replied  that the ST bus which passed by a few minutes back was our only option! The next bus to Mahabaleshwar would arrive only the next morning at around 8 am. That apart, no other private transport is available. Upon inquiring further for any availability of vehicles in the village, he said that there was only one person in this village who owns a bike. So, we both decided to meet him and reached his house. Though we saw his vehicle parked outside, we had to trace him as he was not around. We explained the situation to him, but he replied that his bike did not have enough fuel. Nevertheless he came along with us to analyze the situation. He gave up the idea of taking his bike as it was quite risky amidst forest area and advised us to inquire if the car was available in the next village and moved on.  While I went with the local to the next village, my wife inquired with a passer-by who was very kind, and obliged by giving the phone number of a mechanic he knew who was located about 20 km away. He was damn sure that the mechanic would come by and resolve our problem. He tried calling him but the area had no signal. In fact, the passer-by was himself walking all the way up so he could get signal and told my wife he would surely call the mechanic and inform. When my wife called the mechanic and requested to come by, he replied that he was out of town and would not be able to make it. As the signal was weak, the conversation could not be continued and the call was lost. The news of our vehicle breakdown had spread across the village and a few more villagers gathered near our vehicle. At the neighboring village we found that no one was around in the house. While people around me went in search of the car owner (Sanjay), I was waiting in front of his house. In the meantime, the person (Manish) whom we had approached initially came hurriedly in search of me to inform that he had stopped a car which had come to drop someone from Mahabaleshwar and had agreed to take us to the nearest tyre puncture shop. While I was walking down with him, the passer-by (teacher) called us and told us to wait as he was on call conversing with the mechanic as promised and requested (or rather pleaded) him to come and help. Finally the mechanic was convinced and agreed to come by. We walked quickly to the car that was stopped and thanked the driver who was patiently waiting for us. It was really heartwarming to see each one's kind behavior. As we waited for the mechanic's arrival (which would probably take an hour or so), Manish invited us home for some tea and snacks. As we had our two little partners with us and it was getting dark, it was a safe call. It also began to rain heavily. The mobile connectivity here was questionable as there was a lot of struggle in getting any signal. Finally, the call connected between Manish ji and Shinde ji (the mechanic) and we were told to come near the vehicle. The mechanic tried all possible ways to fix the puncture, but as the cut was big, he was unable to repair it with tools. He gave up at last saying that he will not be able to fix it. We requested him to check the back up tyre and as he inflated it and checked for any puncture, he found none. Luckily now we had one tyre ready. Everyone around advised us to abandon our journey further and told us to go back and take the highway. We thanked everyone who came to our rescue. We drove slowly until we reached the highway and halted at Khed. This was probably the best experience we have had in sometime, where the entire village came to our rescue. We will always remain grateful to the kind teacher who literally pleaded with the mechanic for our sake, Manish ji who was kind and hospitable all along, Shinde ji who came all the way in the rains, riding through the forest and had to go back in the dark and all  the others who helped us directly or indirectly.
'Maharashtra' is one of the most vibrant states of India and is very rich culturally. Their love for the great Shivaji Maharaja is indispensable and significant, so much so that every place here has an association with the great king. The Western Ghats/Sahyadri Hills in Maharashtra comes to life during the monsoon with innumerable waterfalls taking birth from amidst the hills, and the hills exhibiting splendid colors as the flowers are in full bloom amid lush greenery. Though rains had subsided, most of the places we visited greeted us with rains. The plains were hot, but the mountains remained cold. Overall it was a satisfying trip. Maharashtra, truly a great state turns magical during monsoon!
Kolhapur - Satara Road Trip

Route we took 

To be continued....